20 August 2014

Love Announcements

[The pictures above were taken on the award-winning public transportation tram above the city of Medellin, Colombia. It's a ride you MUST take if you ever visit that amazing city. Your eyes just won't believe the views.] 

We're about to sign off for Vipassana in Quito... (I probably should be meditating right now about just heading into 10 days of meditation. ha. Because holy crap, it's really something preparing to be out-of-touch for 10 days!  :) And it's also humbling to embark on an experience that already feels as though it's stripping us of everything we "think" matters so much. We both found ourselves in tears tonight as we talked about our goals and our purpose in this life. Sometimes we feel so meager and lowly and we feel our offerings to the world are so inadequate. We go to Vipassana with a hope that we can have clear minds - free from all outside influences - and be reminded of our light. We pray that our hearts can commune with God and our greatest purpose. I guess it's not unlike having a clearer view of the world from on high.

Before we go, here are several good Love Announcements... 

-Mint.com wanted to do one of their Personal Finance Interviews with me awhile back. If you'd like to check it out, you can see it online here. (Mint.com does personal financial planning and we totally use and recommend their service!)

-A great movie recommendation for your next date night movie at home: The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler. This is really, really a beautiful, inspiring film. It's about a woman who rescues thousands of Jewish children during the holocaust. I didn't want the story to end.

-My dear cousin in Arizona has two sets of young twin girls. Instead of having more kids, she & her husband decided they wanted to help other families in need and so they've become foster parents to a newborn. Here's a very honest account of what their experience has been like so far.

-In case you missed it, Pope Francis gave his "Keys to Happiness" and I just love what he says. 

-Have you experienced infidelity or porn addiction in your marriage? A woman named Jacy has made it her mission to help you. She is hosting a conference for women like you in Utah in October. See The Togetherness Project. We were asked to speak at the event and we wish we lived closer so we could do it.

-5 Ways Sleeping Naked Can Benefit You. Can we get a yes please on that???  :) The nights get chilly this time of year in Cuenca. I think we need to do this more often then we do.

-These two wear-with-everything shirts have totally caught my eye from Kate Spade Saturday:

Plackets Shirt. I just love the button detail on the shoulders.

-Cozies are a priority around here. So I was glad to see that my favorite lounge pants ON EARTH are now available in more colors at Uniqlo. I have bought them for 3 seasons now.

Danny even got a pair of the men's version while we were in NY and LOVES them. (see here.)

-My Brooklyn friend, Lizzie, wrote a post, "Yes, My 7-Year-Old is Old Enough To Stay Home Alone," and ever since she's been fielding interviews, including with Good Morning America! (What do you all think? On my end I'm all for it if your child seems ready. Do you have a different age in mind?)

-And, Parsons has accepted this Brooklyn mom of three into their design program. She is desperate to attend but needs the financial support of the community. She hopes to be able to give back to the community tenfold. Check out her story here on indiegogo.

Alright. That's quite a list. Hopefully something was of interest to you.

Off we go.

Much love to all,


P.S. I have a few blog posts scheduled for while we're away.


  1. Mara,
    I tried to post an earlier comment( I apologize in advance if it appears twice).
    Your cousin foster care story is so timely! My husband and I have been trying to discern whether it is the right thing for us to do or not. We've attended the first meeting and it seems like the right path for our family. We already have 3 children and at times I am questioning our sanity. Yes, it will be hard for us( and I know I don't fully comprehend how hard) but the children in the system have it harder. What if we can provide just a bit of respite?
    And if everything else fails, speaking of Pope Francis, I'll put the blame on him. J/K. I forgot exactly what he said but in one of his speech encouraging people to take more care of the other, mentioning adoption among other things, put the 'fostering' seed in our brains.
    On another the note, 'the courageous Heart of Irena Sendler' has been on my list of movies to watch. I'll hopefully get to it soon!
    Enjoy your meditation retreat!

    1. Valerie - I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Keep praying and seeking for the right choice and then stick with that choice, even when it gets hard. We sounded like you guys - a bit nervous, wondering if we already had our hands full - but it just felt right. Then once we got into it, that feel good feeling wasn't always around. I had to keep going, trusting myself that we made the right decision in the beginning, even though it sounded more crazy than ever once we were in the process. We wish you the best in your decision making!! These children do need homes that are full of the right kind of crazy.

    2. Thank you for your words for they mean a lot to us right now. We are definitely praying for guidance and fortitude. 'One step at a time' is our current motto.

  2. Can't wait to read some of these articles! P.S. Loved your Mormon Stories podcast. It all started making sense to me when you talked about changing pathways in the brain. For some reason, I thought what you practiced was all about acting happy until it becomes natural, but realizing it becomes natural because you've actually changed your brain....that makes a lot more sense to me. I'd love to do more research about that subject alone! Can't wait to hear about your meditation retreat! You are doing great work, you two. Take care.

  3. I think you guys have a great positive blog--it has helped me a lot. I loved your interview on Mormon stories! I just was wondering if you are thinking at all about exploring adoption? It seems like you are in a great place for that being in a country where I am sure there are many children who need parents, and then of course you would have a family as well. I hope you aren't offended by my asking, not sure if you have taboo subjects you don't like to discuss on your blog but you seem pretty open about things so I thought I would just ask. It would be just be such a neat thing to see you as parents and I would love for you to experience that! And I think that is something you want as well. I myself have adopted and we have been very blessed by the experience.

    1. Hello Anon, we most certainly have thought about adoption, quite a bit actually. I love it that there are vocal and passionate parents like yourself out there who advocate for this beautiful path to parenthood.

      Mara and I are both open to it. But the timing in our lives has not really felt right. Mara explained where she is regarding the whole adoption thing in this post http://www.ablogaboutlove.com/2014/01/adoption-stamina-desire.html

      Basic summary, having spent 10 years jumping through hoops living for a future possibility of having children...it felt like it was time to quit jumping through hoops and just living. There can be a lot of red tape around adoption, especially here in Ecuador as expats. For now we've decided to forgo all of that. Though we both remain completely open to the idea that it may be in our future.

    2. Thanks for responding! Yes I know first hand how stressful infertility and adoption can be! I wish you all the best in the future and I hope that someday you will be able to parent or mentor some children in some way because you will be great parents!

  4. Thanks for the shout out Mara! And my girls don't call pajamas, pajamas. They are "comfy, cozies."

  5. Thanks for sharing! I always admire those who are willing to care for someone else’s child and love them so freely; such good people! And leaving a 7 year old home alone to run errands; yikes! Regardless is he is some sort of super child who is more mature than average, he has lots of time to be mature he should not be left at home. I am all for instilling independence, but there are many other ways to do it! I can understand the temptation to want to leave a child home when your are trying to hurry and get errands done. My 7 year old would much rather stay home than go do errands with me, but there are many lessons that I can teach him by making him come with me! Not to mention the fact that what if some thing happened to Mom and she couldn't get back home! A little boy who was fine to stay by himself is now alone for who knows how long; is he mature enough to cope with that! Children grow fast enough as it is I really don't see the need to place unnecessary responsibility on them at the age of 7. I really hope this Mom will reconsider leaving this little boy home alone!

  6. I have seven children. Each were ready to stay at home at different ages. There is no one right way to parent and we really do not know this family or this boy. https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152218480145047


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